You’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t worry, be happy”. It’s a catchy tune sung by Bob Marley. Being healthy makes us happy. But did you know that being happy can help keep us healthy?
“Happy people live longer, probably because happiness protects physical health.”
This was the conclusion of a research paper by Dutch sociologist Ruut Veenhoven
in The Journal of Happiness Studies in 2008 that looked at 30 follow-up studies on happiness and its effect on health and longevity.
The research paper states, “it is widely acknowledged that mental factors may influence physical functioning and that psychological well-being works positively on physical health.” It points out that where depression slows down the functioning of the body and health, happiness keeps “the body fit and resilient”. This makes sense to me because happiness is not a condition of the body but a spiritual thing, a state of thought, and I’ve learned in Christian Science that consciousness affects health.
Significantly, it found that the effect of happiness on longevity in healthy populations is comparable to that of not smoking.
This research concludes that since happiness contributes to health, we can make people healthier by making them happier. So the goal in healthcare reform of “health for all” is furthered by a goal of “happiness for all”.
I certainly don’t advocate ignoring problems. But giving attention to our character, to how we think and how we live our lives, being kind and helpful, being good and doing good, feeling God’s love for us and appreciating everyone and everything good in our daily lives all contributes to being happy. And being happy has a beneficial effect on our health.
So…really then…don’t worry, be happy! And share your happiness with others to help them be healthy!